By Tim Miller
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets lost 89-84 to Kentucky State Thursday night. Head Coach Pat Estepp was not happy with the way his team performed.
“We took a giant step backwards tonight,” Estepp said.
Estepp said his team’s defensive deficiencies were the reason for the loss.
“Our defensive intensity was terrible in the first half,” Estepp said. “I didn’t think we defended with any heart. Unfortunately for us, the second half was even worse.”
J.C. Faubion scored a career-high 35 points and Easton Bazzoli was the only other Yellow Jacket to reach double figures in the game with 11 points.
Cedarville’s second leading scorer (13.5 points per game) Patrick Bain didn’t play due to an ankle injury. Estepp refused to blame Bain’s absence for the loss.
“Not having Pat probably hurt some, but that’s just an excuse,” he said.
Kentucky State jumped out to a 7-2 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Cedarville then went on a 13-2 run during the next five minutes to take a 15-9 lead. Faubion scored seven straight points in less than a minute during the run.
The Thoroughbreds came back to score eight unanswered points, which allowed them to take a 17-15 lead with 10:27 left in the half.
In less than two minutes, Cedarville went on another run, scoring seven unanswered to take the largest lead of the game. The Yellow Jackets led 32-24 thanks to a Robert Okoro dunk with 4:09 left.
Kentucky State chopped Cedarville’s lead to three to close the half. The Yellow Jackets took a 36-33 lead into the locker room.
Cedarville looked to take a substantial lead as the second half opened up and came excruciatingly close to putting the game away. The Yellow Jackets went on an 11-4 run to begin the half, and found themselves up 47-37 with 16:21 left.
Kentucky State responded by going on an overwhelming 20-4 run in the next five minutes. During the run, Robert Okoro and Easton Bazzoli each were plagued with their fourth fouls, which limited each of their minutes for the rest of the game. With 11:56 left, Kentucky State owned a 57-51 lead.
With 7:43 remaining, Kwenton Scott made a layup that tied the game at 64. Cedarville had a huge chance to take the momentum back.
The Thoroughbreds wouldn’t budge in the next five minutes, as they kept a small lead that never grew bigger than two possessions. Kentucky State led 76-72 with 2:35 left.
The teams traded punches to close the game, and Cedarville even inched back to a four point deficit after being down by nine. Nevertheless, Kentucky State was able to hold of the Yellow Jackets, as they were able to manage Cedarville enough to gain the victory.
Cedarville (12-15, 4-7 G-MAC) will play its final regular season game on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at the Callan Athletic Center. The Yellow Jackets will play Ohio Valley (2-23, 1-10 G-MAC) for the second time this season. Cedarville cruised by OVU in the first meeting, beating the Fighting Scots 95-72 on Jan. 28.
Tim Miller is a freshman journalism student at Cedarville University. Tim loves anything that has to do with sports, and hopes to write about sports for a career after graduating from Cedarville.